Appeal to the Chief Justice of Pakistan regarding Lowari Pass

20 Sep, 2018

My Lord. Welcome to Chitral.
The construction of this road that you travelled on today had started when you were barely 15 years old. I was then twenty eight years old and about to get married. Today I am 73 and I dont see this road being completed in my life time.
I know that you are a passionate man who listens to his heart. You must have heard this road giving its own story tearfully to you. I dont need to say any more.

Look at the attached pictures please.I can bet the Bhasha dam that this contractor will never be able to meet the date of completion written on that road sign so clearly. Over all these years we have seen many such dates written and not realized. I have photos of them.

Your lordship can also clearly see the date of the start of the current project. All that your lordship needs to do is to engage a construction firm of repute to assess the work done by the contractor in relation to the payment he has so far received for it.
This is the only road connecting us to the rest of our country so we have to use it quite often. We therefore need no expert to tell us that the Chitral side of this road is getting very little attention from the contractor. I travelled on this road today, like you did, and you must have observed that whereas a lot of construction activity is taking place on the Dir side of the road, there is very little activity on the Chitral side.

This road over the Lowari Pass told you its story but the thick jungle of Deodar trees that adorned the hill slopes along it will never be able to tell you their story. They are all dead. Ruthlessly chopped down illegally by selected contractors hand in glove with politicians and key government officials. But what you can do my lord is to save the few trees who are still clinging on to their life from the same ” timber mafia” who continue their plunder without let. Please use your pen to once and for all impose a complete ban on cutting trees in any natural forest of Chitral. Otherwise the increasing silt in our river, caused mainly by this deforestation, will completely sult up the Warsak dam and consequently much of your gain from the Bhasha dam will be neutralized by the silting up in the Warsak ( and also Tarbela) dam.

When driving to Mastuj when you pass Booni you will suddenly interchange from an asphalt road to a dirt track. Prepare yourself for a shock my lord when they tell you that this dirt road on which you will be travelling for the next two hours is actually on paper an asphalt road! Yes, the contractor of this road has been paid for an asphalt road.

The shameless neglect of our district by all successive governments of the past will hit you in the face in every corner my lord. Please order a judicial inquiry to ascertain how and why the peace loving people of Chitral known for their sincerity and loyalty to Pakistan have been abandoned in such a way. .. Siraj Ulmulk, Hindukush Heights, Chitral 20 Sep 2018

1 Comment

  • Wg Cdr (r) Fardad Ali Shah says:

    Well written Shahzada sahib. However I would not blame the previous govts for neglect of our district, rather I consider our deprivation a child of our own weakness. We Chitralis are never ready to sacrifice for a cause and in times of trial resign by taking things lying down. Our protests are limited to press conferences, all party meetings or at most meeting a dignitary and expressing our demands. Nothing beyond that.
    Let’s take an example of the Lowari tunnel nuisance. Three years back when tunnel was scheduled for opening twice a week and which obviously was insufficient, the political leaders of Chitral held all parties conferences, even resolutions were passed in the provincial Assembly to open the tunnel thrice a week instead of twice, but nothing happened and no further protest action was taken by our leaders or people -a perfect example of collective capitulation.
    Quoting a personal example, I was traveling from south and reached the tunnel on a tunnel opening day in 2015 winter. The tunnel did not open even after five hours elapsed beyond the scheduled opening time and passengers in over 400 vehicles assembled there became fractious and starting abusing the government and elected representatives. I addressed the angry travelers and told them to instead of abusing the government they should follow me as I march towards the tunnel After clapping and applause about a hundred men started the march with me. As we neared the barrier a security personnel yelled at us to go back. I resolutely continued forward but to my horror when I reached the barrier I found myself left alone to face a battery of uniformed security personnel. As I started my altercation, I found the soldiers very rude and haughty as per what they had learnt how to deal with Chitralis through their experience. One subedar even said that we should remember how we were treated when travelling through Afghanistan and this wait is nothing compared to that, to which I replied that “this is not Afghanistan and you are not Karzai”. Thanks to my millitary background that I was spared from disgrace at their hands. Eventually the tunnel was opened. However what was more torturing than the tunnel torture was that none amongst the travelers who included politicians, govt servants, senior clerics etc who earlier prodded me to protest, came to stand beside me. Some were even later quoted as saying “horo sum jaam baizati kardua tamasha lolay saam. Bo apakain gia woshtai”
    If such be the mental status of our people, how can we expect governments to respect us- We need to change ourselves.
    We need learn to give sacrifice to get our rights. I suggest invite some one like Pashteen to give a lecture on ‘how to get your rights’ to Chitralis.